The goal of EMBRACE is to profoundly enhance children’s ability to read, comprehend, and enjoy reading in English. Although originally developed for monolingual English speaking children, the system has been extended to help English language learners. Currently it supports children whose native languages are Spanish and Mandarin. In principle, it can be further extended to any of the world’s languages that have a written script.

EMBRACE creates active readers by literally having the children be active while reading. For example, after reading a sentence such as “Next, she grabbed a kilo of the ripest mangoes and then a string of garlic,” a child uses her finger to move the girl to the mangoes (and the iPad conjoins them), and then to the garlic. Thus, the child learns to map nouns (e.g., “mangoes”) to objects, and map the syntax of the sentence, the who does what to whom, to her own actions. Teaching this type of mapping often results in a doubling of comprehension.

EMBRACE has multiple features to help English language learners. 1) The first chapter of each text is read to the child (by the iPad) in the native language to provide background information; other chapters are read by the child in English. 2) After tapping an underlined word (e.g., “Hawai’i”), the child hears the word pronounced in the native language and English, and appropriate images are highlighted. 3) Each chapter begins with a vocabulary list (in the native language and English) that is adjusted by an intelligent tutoring system (ITS).

Does it work? See the published, peer-reviewed research that demonstrates proof of concept.

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